Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Synostemon sphenophyllus Airy Shaw

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)
Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers. © CSIRO

Airy Shaw, H.K. (1978) Kew Bulletin 33(1): 37. Type: Papua New Guinea, Western Prov., Morehead Subprov., Sibidiri, Mai Kussa River, 142.15 E, 8.59 S, NGF (Henty & Katik) 38763 (holo BRI; iso L).

Common name

Lily of the Valley; Lily of the Valley


Shrub to 20-60 cm tall. Plants monoecious, with separate male and female flowers on the same plant.


Stipules to 0.4-0.8 mm long, filiform, not cordate. Leaf blades 7-24 x 2.7-15.5 mm, elliptical to obovate, margins rolled under, 3-7 lateral parallel veins. Leaves appearing sessile or petiole to 1.5 mm long. Veins forming loops near margin.


Inflorescences with both male and female flowers mixed, except towards apex where only female flowers occur. Male flowers 1-10 per axil; pedicel 1.5-3 mm, glabrous; sepals 6, fused shortly or to half length, elliptical to ovate, 1.5-3.6 mm long, white, fleshy, glabrous; stamens 3, filaments wholly fused. Female flowers solitary; pedicel in flower 1.5-4.5 mm long, in fruit 4.3-6.2 mm long; sepals 6, free, elliptical to obovate, when flowering 1.8-5.5 mm long x 1.4-2.4 mm wide, in fruit 5-6 mm long x 1.9-2.7 mm wide, fleshy, glabrous; styles 3, free, white, 0.4-1 mm long.


Fruit ovoid to ellipsoid, 5.2-5.6 mm long x 5.5-5.8 mm wide, green, smooth, glabrous, grooved. Seeds yellow-brown to pale brown, flattened, 4.6 x 2.5 mm.


Features not available.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in CYP. Altitudinal range from 20-250 m. Grows in heath communities, rainforest and rainforest margins, vine forest and riverine forest. Also occurs in Papua New Guinea.


Sauropus sphenophyllus (Airy Shaw) Airy Shaw, Kew Bulletin Addit. ser. 8: 221 (1980). Sauropus convallarioides J.T.Hunter & J.J.Bruhl, Austrobaileya 4: 666(1996), Type: Queensland, Cape York, South Pap, Tozer Gap area, D.L. Jones 1244, September 16, 1983; Holo: BRI.

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